How These Multicultural Parents Decided On Their Babies’ Names

Find out the big meaning behind these little ones' names.

Finding a great baby name is one of the first big decisions you’ll make as a parent.

These multicultural families who have lived in Singapore share their experiences of choosing that perfect baby name.

Lucas, 8 and Nadya, 5

Sharifah Almaghbouly (mother): “We chose Modern Arabic/ Latin names that were easy to spell and pronounce in different languages. I also wanted short names that don’t lend themselves to nicknames and, above all, have special meanings. My son is Lucas Caliph, or ‘shining successor’, and my daughter’s name, Nadya Amani, means ‘aspiration and hope’.”

Felicia, 9 and Yvonne, 5

Larisa Bernholtz (mother): “My husband, who is Swedish, suggested some Swedish names that when translated to Russian, meant ‘fox’ and ‘ruler’ – so they were off my list! Many Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian expat parents name their kids the same names (like Victor or Sophia), and it’s boring. I liked Victoria but my husband said ‘No way! People will think it’s because of the Swedish Crown Princess’.”

Oliver, 6 and Kloe, 3

Ania Sykes (mother): “Oliver is a popular name but it sounds strong, and easy for our Polish and English families to use, as well as locally in Singapore. Oliver’s middle name is Konrad (from the Polish King) so I liked the idea of spelling Kloe with a ‘K’. Baby number three has no name just yet, but I’m keen on another ‘K’ name.”

Kabir, 11 months

Sanjana Chappalli (mother): “Kabir was the only name that resonated with both of us. It doesn’t belong to either of our cultures – Indian or Italian – yet both families could pronounce it! In Arabic, it means ‘the Great’ and though neither of us is Muslim, we felt giving our son such a name was one way for us to recognise that he’ll have to straddle two cultures.”

Alex Patrick ‘Jin Shun’ Byrne, 8

Suzanne Teo (mother): “We both liked Alexander. And his second name, Patrick, is from his Irish grandfather. I consulted my aunts who picked out the most auspicious Chinese name for him ‘Jin Shun’. They said it needed to include gold, as the metal element was missing on the date he was born. Jin Shun is on his passport but most people just call him ‘Alex’.”

Prabha, 8 and Anish, 6

Nithya Navaratnam (mother): “We wanted our kids’ names to be intuitive in English without losing the nuance of the original Sanskrit, as I’m half-Indian, my husband is half-Sri Lankan and we’re both half-American. We chose names that represented an aspect of divinity. Prabha means ‘luminescent’, and Anish means ‘supreme’ – or specifically ‘he who can’t be controlled’. My grandfather warned me about naming him Anish, and I’m paying for it now!”

Yoshiki Patrick, 5 and Leina Charlotte, 3

Miho MacCarthy (mother): “My grandfather is Yoshitaka and my dad is Yoshihiro, so we wanted a name starting with ‘Yoshi’. Patrick is my British husband Dan’s father’s name. We thought about pronunciation as some sounds (eg, th, v, r) don’t exist in Japanese. Still, we often have to explain to Westerners that Yoshiki’s first name is ‘yosh-key’ not ‘yo-shee-key’. These days, many pretty Japanese girl’s names like Leina sound both Western and Japanese.”

By Lucy Cleeve, The Finder, September 2016 / Last updated by Isabel Wibowo / Images provided by families named.

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